A woman walks to the departure hall of Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area on Feb 8, 2020. (PHILIP FONG / AFP)
A total 504 Hong Kong students had signed up by 5 pm on Wednesday for assistance with facilitating their trips to their respective schools on the Chinese mainland.
The news came less than a day after the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced new measures to prioritize students needing quarantine hotels, and to arrange more flights for them to the mainland.
In a written reply to China Daily, the Education Bureau said that of those 504 applicants, 434 plan to travel north by land. Guangdong province and Fujian province were the most common destinations; the remaining 70 students aim to travel to various other destinations.
The government is also discussing with Macao the possibility of allowing mainland-bound students to be quarantined there first
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The bureau also received an additional 287 inquiries related to the issue.
The new measures, announced by the government on Tuesday afternoon, include putting students returning to mainland schools in the “compassionate quotas” for quarantine hotels, and increasing more flights between Hong Kong and the mainland. These students will enjoy priority status when booking flight tickets. Currently, 2,000 quarantine hotel places in Shenzhen are available every day through a lottery system.
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The government is also discussing with Macao the possibility of allowing mainland-bound students to be quarantined there first.
Deputy Secretary for Education Esmond Lee Chung-sin said on Wednesday at a local radio program that the Education Bureau will inform students as soon as possible once their identities are confirmed, and he urged them to be ready as they may have as little as one day’s notice before their trip.